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Steps of Litigation

All civil lawsuits follow the same procedural rules, regardless of the specific subject matter of the case. Ford, Parshall & Baker attorneys have extensive trial and litigation experience with civil cases in both state and federal court. We work closely with our clients through every step of the litigation process to explain strategy, timelines, and likely outcomes.

  • The initial consultation: You should bring all documents and information you have on the matter at issue in the case, including photographs, drawings, emails, file folders, notes, calendars, letters, et cetera. This should include all paper and electronic or computer files. Please do not leave out anything, even if you think it is irrelevant or not necessary. Our role is to filter information and determine what is relevant. If at any time during the case you find any type of document or other information that may be related to the case, you should contact your Ford, Parshall & Baker attorney right away about the information you found.

Your Ford, Parshall & Baker attorney will thoroughly discuss the matter with you at the initial meeting, but may have additional questions later. Try to be as prompt as possible in responding to messages from your attorney as procedural deadlines are often in place.

  • Filing a lawsuit or a response: Depending on your role in the case, we may file an original lawsuit (called a petition or a complaint) or file an answer or other response to the petition against you.
  • The discovery process: The discovery process begins after a lawsuit has been filed. During discovery, each party “discovers” or learns what the other party knows about the case by requesting specific documents, answers to written questions, and answers under oath in depositions. Discovery can continue for a period of months and, in complex cases, may take more than a year to finish.

The written discovery phase may include interrogatories, requests for production of documents and admission requests. Your Ford, Parshall & Baker attorney will help you throughout this process. You will likely be asked to provide answers to written questions called interrogatories. You may need to respond to requests for admissions about certain facts at issue in the case. You may also be asked to provide documents in response to a party’s request for production of documents. As noted above, it is important to provide your attorney with all the documents you have, including the documents you think are not important.

The deposition phase of discovery usually begins after the written discovery phase, but sometimes these phases overlap. A party to a civil lawsuit is required to appear for his or her deposition to testify under oath as to the facts of the case. Your FPB attorney will help you prepare for your deposition and be at the deposition with you. Witnesses who are not parties may also be deposed.

  • Settlement negotiations: As discovery proceeds, so do settlement negotiations. Only a very small percentage of civil lawsuits actually go to trial. Ford, Parshall & Baker lawyers are skilled negotiators who know how to use the information collected during discovery to reach an acceptable resolution
    to the matter.
  • Summary judgment: In some cases where there is no factual dispute, attorneys may file summary judgment motions asking the judge to dismiss the case or make a final ruling without a complete trial.
  • Trial: In the unlikely event settlement negotiations fail, our experienced trial attorneys continue to carry the case through to a resolution via a trial by jury or in front of a state or federal judge.

The experience to handle your civil litigation needs

For more information about our law firm, our history, our list of representative clients or to make an appointment, contact Ford, Parshall & Baker today.

Our Office
  • Columbia Office
    3210 Bluff Creek Drive
    Columbia, Missouri 65201-3525
    Phone: 573-449-2613
    Fax: 573-875-8154
FPB NEWS
  • "Ford Parshall & Baker congratulates the attorneys listed in the 2014 publication of Missouri/Kansas Super Lawyers: Hamp Ford was named as a Super Lawyer in the area of Personal Injury Medical Malpractice Defense, Jeff Parshall was named as a Super Lawyer in the area of Civil Litigation Defense, and Emily Little and Josh Devine were named as Rising Stars in the area of Civil Litigation Defense."

  • "On behalf of the Missouri Insurance Coalition and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, Jill Jackson authored an Amicus brief in a pending Missouri Supreme Court case, Dutton v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company. July 2014.Ford Parshall & Baker welcomed Clayton Thompson as an associate attorney. June 2014."

  • "Hamp Ford and Jill Jackson won a declaratory judgment holding that an insurance policy was not ambiguous regarding the identity of the named insured, and the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment in Columbia Mutual Insurance Company v. Grain Bin Supply Company et al., (Per Curium Order, May 13, 2014)."

  • "Jill Jackson moderated a continuing legal education seminar with a panel of judges from several of Missouri's judicial circuits. April 2014.Jeff Parshall and Michael Robertson won an appeal for their client in Executive Board of Missouri Baptist Convention v. Windermere Baptist Conference Center, Inc. et al., 430 S.W.3d 274 (Mo.App. S.D. 2014). "

  • "The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment in favor of Ford, Parshall & Baker's client enforcing a mechanic’s lien on a condominium construction project at the Lake of the Ozarks. Grau Contracting, Inc. v. Captiva Lake Investments, LLC, 429 S.W.3d 472 (Mo.App. S.D. 2014)."